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2010 Dodge Ram HD First Drive

Posted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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2010 Dodge Ram HD First Drive
Photographers: Courtesy of Dodge

First Drive
Last month we discussed the new '10 Dodge Power Wagon in our 4x4 of the Year test, but what of the other Ram Heavy Duties? The Hemis and Cummins, the regular, crew, and Mega Cabs, the short, long and dualie trucks... What of these? Well, they too have been redesigned for the better, and we're interested.

The Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and especially the Cummins-equipped trucks are some of the most revered trucks in the towing, hauling, and working truck arena. They have been honored since the first straight-six oiler began rattling under a Mopar hood in the late '80s. The Cummins engines have progressed from a loud tractor torque monster to a quiet, civilized, and responsive powerplant, capable of great long-haul towing and daily driving with even more tearing-a-house-down torque.

The new '10 HD trucks take that great Cummins engine and the proven drivetrain and dress it up in one of the nicest-looking bodies to ever receive the bighorn Ram badge. In addition, the new interior of these big work trucks can be optioned from a vinyl seat and rubber floor mat ST all the way up to the leather-adorned Laramie package. Seating is comfortable in the regular cab, expansive in the new crew cab, and sell-your-house-and-move-in- it's-so-darn-big in the returning Mega Cab. Also new for 2010 are the fully stamped dualie bedsides helping with aerodynamics.

The regular cab option is still available, and when combined with the dualie rear axle and 4.10 gears it offers a whopping 24,500-pound gross combined weight rating! That means almost 2 1/2 tons of cargo and just over 8 1/2 tons of trailer weight. The 4WD diesel version has an upgraded front axle weight rating of 5,500 pounds due to larger U-joints and axleshafts; unfortunately these larger axle parts are not swappable into the axlehousings of previous years.

In our first chance behind the wheel of these fresh-faced pickups we got a chance to tow heavy trailers, haul big loads, and run at highway speeds for a few hours. The ride quality has improved greatly over previous HD Rams, but the interior upgrades are what really stand out.The power and towing numbers are up slightly from '09 models, and the freshly tuned suspension and new hydrodynamic body mounts have improved the ride. A plethora of great towing options, such as a trailer brake controller, a standard Class IV hitch, tow/haul mode transmissions, and the standard exhaust brake, had us dreaming of loading up even our heaviest trail rig on the trailer and hitting the road in the comfortable driver's seat of a new Ram HD.

TECH SPECS
2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500/3500
Prices: Starting U.S. MSRP are $28,165 for regular cab, $31,415 for crew cab, $36,865 for Mega Cab
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6 diesel (350 hp, 650 lb-ft), 5.7L Hemi V-8 Gas (383 hp, 400 lb-ft)
Transmission: G56 6-speed manual (diesel), 68RFE 6-speed automatic (diesel), 545RFE 5-speed automatic (gas)
Transfer Case: NV271 (manual shift) NV273 (electric shift)
Front Axle: AAM 9.25. Ratios: Gas 3.73, 4.10, 4.56; diesel 3.42, 3.73, 4.10
Rear Axle: AAM 10.5. Ratios: Gas 3.73, 4.10, 4.56 AAM 11.5 single or dual rear wheel; diesel 3.42, 3.73, 4.10
Suspension: (front) Live axle, Quadra link leading arms, track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar, gas-charged shock absorbers; (rear) Live axle, longitudinal leaf springs, stabilizer bar, gas-charged shock absorbers, auxiliary springs
Cab: Regular, crew, Mega
Bed: 8-foot regular and crew cab, 6-foot 4-inch crew cab, 6-foot 3-inch Mega Cab

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Sources

Chrysler Dodge Ram
N/A, AK
www.dodge.com

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